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20 January 2008

Villanova tops 'Cuse

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
1/20/2008 11:58:00 AM

Villanova 81
Syracuse 71
(box score)
(ESPN video highlights)

Syracuse: 13-6 (3-3 BE)
#21 Villanova: 13-3 (3-2 BE, 3-0 B5)

Next game: at Rutgers, 01/23 at the RAC.

Villanova took down Syracuse on Saturday for its first Big East road win. The 'Cats improve to 3-2 in conference play.

The 'Cats used yet another second-half comeback to take the victory, though this one was not nearly as dramatic as past come-from-behind efforts. Villanova trailed by just five points heading into the locker room, and the Wildcats were able to outscore Syracuse by 15 in the second half.

Scottie Reynolds led all scorers with 25, and should receive several votes for the Big East player of the week.

Due to widespread carnage in the top 25 this weekend, expect Villanova to move up several spots in the rankings.

Congratulations to reader "J.A." for most closely predicting the game's final score.

Next up for Villanova is a trip to the dreaded RAC Wednesday night to face Big-East cellar-dweller Rutgers.

Let's get right to the player grades. "READ MORE" below for player performance grades and analysis.

  • Scottie Reynolds (S, 36 min)

    Reynolds is back in a big way, and is now pretty much the most dangerous scorer in the Big East. Scottie scored 25 points Saturday on 6-14 shooting, including an excellent 4-7 from the three. He was outstanding from the foul line, shooting 9-10. He also was third on the team in rebounds, with 6. Reynolds added 4 steals, tops on the team, and 2 assists. He committed 4 turnovers. It was a spectacular outing for Scottie, who seems to be hitting his stride as the perfect time of the year.
    Grade: A

  • Shane Clark (S, 32 min)

    O.K., Clark played 32 minutes and Villanova got its biggest win of the season. Based on the results, some might say you can't fault Clark for his performance or Jay Wright for sticking with him. But the truth is that Clark played an awful game against Syracuse. He scored just 2 points in 32 minutes on an atrocious 1-9 shooting effort, including 0-3 from behind the arc. But it wasn't just the lack of offense; Clark's defense was tremendously poor, especially along the perimeter and on help assignments. Clark was slow to contest shots and literally let penetrators go right by him unmolested. The two bright spots for the game were his 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Clark also committed 2 turnovers. I suppose Wright called upon Clark so much against 'Cuse for his size, but what good is size when the player is struggling on defense and offense, and can't handle the ball to boot? I think a significant reduction of Clark's minutes is warranted if he can't break out of this slump on both ends of the floor.
    Grade: D-

  • Dante Cunningham (S, 28 min)

    It was another efficient game for Dante Cunningham, who scored 14 points on 6-8 shooting. Cunningham also led the 'Cats in rebounds, with 8. His defense was solid, and he handled the ball a lot better than in previous efforts. Cunningham passed for 2 assists and, more important, committed 0 turnovers.
    Grade: B+

  • Dwayne Anderson (21 min)

    Anderson bounced back from a lackluster performance against DePaul to put out a good game Saturday. His offense looked a lot better, and for once he was not afraid to take open shots. Anderson shot 3-4 from the field and hit a pair of big three pointers to score 9 points. He did struggle from the foul line, however, shooting 1-4. His defense was good. Anderson added 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and 3 turnovers.
    Grade: B-

  • Reggie Redding (21 min)

    Redding found the court once again Saturday after being virtually ignored in the DePaul game. Though he struggled a bit on offense, scoring just 5, Reggie's on-the-ball defense earned him the minutes against the Orange. Redding shot 1-3 from the field and a mediocre 3-6 from the stripe. He played a good all-around game with 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks (!), 3 steals, and just 1 turnover.
    Grade: B-

  • Antonio Pena (S, 19 min)

    Pena shot well from the field against the 'Cuse, going 3-4. He was only 3-6 from the foul line, however, and finished with 9 points. He grabbed 4 rebounds and had 2 steals, but clearly struggled handling the ball, committing 5 turnovers. The redshirt freshman continues his development and has earned his starting spot.
    Grade: C

  • Corey Fisher (15 min)

    Fisher came off the bench and promptly put up 15 points in 15 minutes. I still think that Fisher is being used far too little of late. Corey did not shoot particularly well (2-8), but did drill 2 three pointers in 3 attempts. He was excellent from the foul line, shooting 9-10. Fisher added 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 turnover. In my opinion, we need to see more of Corey Fisher and Malcolm Grant, and less of Corey Stokes and Shane Clark, no matter what the size implications are.
    Grade: B

  • Corey Stokes (12 min)

    Stokes struggled on Saturday after making progress in the Pavilion against DePaul last week. Corey shot 1-5 from the field, including 0-4 from the three. Wherever Corey Stokes's three-point shot went after high school, I sure hope he finds it. Stokes grabbed 2 rebounds but committed 2 turnovers. He was not a factor at all on offense, but his defense was passable.
    Grade: D

  • Malcolm Grant (S, 10 min)

    I do not understand Jay Wright's substitution philosophy for Malcolm Grant at all. Grant is clearly one of the team's best players, yet Wright yanks him from the lineup the second he misses a few shots. Give him a chance to get going. Grant is obviously a high-energy, streaky scorer. What good is starting him when he gets pulled and benched after missing a few baskets? Grant only saw 10 minutes of court time on Saturday and was 0-3 from the field, scoring 0. He had 1 rebound, 2 assists, and 0 turnovers. Who knows what he could have contributed if he had seen more floor time. I think that Grant should be averaging at least 25 minutes a game. With Shane Clark, Corey Stokes, Dwayne Anderson, and Reggie Redding all getting dozens more minutes each than Grant in various games, there is plenty of time to go around, it seems. Play Malcolm more, in my opinion.
    Grade: C

  • Incomplete grades: Andrew Ott (3 min).

  • Did not play: Casiem Drummond (ankle), Frank Tchuisi (CD), Jason Colenda (CD).

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At 9:03 PM, January 20, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very encouraging. Also keep in mind that the continued success of Cincinnati and St. Paul makes those losses look less bad.

The team is still young, it still has it's weaknesses, but I think that some people's recent projections of Nova as an NIT team are looking pessimistic. At this point I'd say 21-9 (10-8), a likely first round Big East tourney win, and an NCAA bid even if they lose their first Big East Tourney game. And that projections may even be pessimistic by a game or two.

Though I'd feel more confident in that prediction if Drummond was able to contribute. I see he didn't play yesterday. A setback, or just Wright being cautious? Anybody know?

At 9:38 PM, January 20, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wantz me nova grades

At 9:39 PM, January 20, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wantz me nova grades

At 9:55 AM, January 21, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Overall Villanova had a great game. Fisher and Reynolds knew that the fans were going to be tough and really stepped up big time. Fisher didn't have a good interview but he did have a good game. Reynolds has always been great and no matter how bad anyone plays, 25 points is always a big accomplishment.I also liked how Villanova looked as a group, and i'm not talking about their haircuts! Nova is easily one of the best in the Big East. Aside from Nova the Big East isnt doing that well. I know Stokes had one good drive but i'm still waiting for him to get the fundamentals down along with being a team player. GO NOVA

At 10:49 AM, January 21, 2008, Blogger Jameson Fleming said...

Scottie Reynolds is a great player, but the officials need to start calling him for traveling. I don't get how he consistently is allowed to take three or four steps through the lane with the ball. The guy tucks the ball like a receiver takes two steps and then hops; I'm pretty sure that's a travel.

Other than that he's a great player, and as a Syracuse fan I can't stand him.

At 12:05 PM, January 21, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea it was a pretty bad, but funny interview.

At 1:58 PM, January 21, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

are there any links to the post game press conference?

At 2:02 PM, January 21, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go to ESPN. then go to the Villanova B-Ball homepage. There you will see a highlight reel and a quick interview with fisher and reynolds.

At 2:21 PM, January 21, 2008, Blogger pete said...

The link is already on the top of the post, right under the box score link.

At 12:24 AM, January 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm tired of the scottie worship.
He needs to do something other than score and take high risk shots..
Dante Deserves an A.. Give a guy a break he had the flu...

At 9:21 AM, January 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He needs to do something other than score?" Last time I checked, the team that scores the most points wins.

At 4:03 PM, January 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1 has a point.. scottie hasn't been doing anything except score.. Reggie is the glue that holds that team together

At 4:11 PM, January 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I partially agree with annonymous 1. Scottie is undoubtedly an extremely good player, but he's not the ONLY good player. and he certainly doesn't do everything out there, hes basically a one or two trick pony.

I also agree that dante is completely underrated. Even when he's sick, dante is the most consistent player on the team and always gives an astoundingly solid effort!

At 5:42 PM, January 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For you who think Scottie only scores, please check out the Big East Men's Weekly Basketball Report for conference and non- conference games.

Stop being haters.

At 9:54 AM, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nova 93 Rutgers 76

At 4:10 PM, January 29, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd have to agree with Emily/Jim.. Scottie does nothing but score. Over all, when he's in a zone he does that well. But when he's in a slump it affects the whole team. One thing for sure, 2 things for certain, is Scottie is POOR with sharing the ball. It's no wonder Nova can't get out of a slump, because every penetration Scottie has - leads to him shooting or driving the ball. He's not a natural 1 Guard. If I had my say, Fisher or Grant would be pushing the ball, and looking to Scottie for open 3's and penetration AFTER offensive rebounds.

Nova has to much talent to be sub .500 in the big east. There are 2 valuable players Shane Clark and Dante' Cunningham who simply just don't touch the ball enough. Dante is EXCELLENT for cleaning up the glass, and Shane's rebounding skills are immaculant as well. They are getting beat down in so many other areas as leaders, that it's hard to understand why they aren't producing to there potential. Every great player goes through shooting slumps, and it's up to the team to help out during those periods. With Scottie pushing as Point, he NEVER gives anyone on the team a chance to help out. (Until they're down 16 points) His 3's have been HORRIBLE this season, free throw percentage sucks for a guard, and from EVERY game I've watched this season, he has been beat of the dribble, by more quicker gaurds. He can not rebound, defend, nor does he assist well. Always getting jammed up in traffic when penetrating, and barely getting called for travels. So, his only TRUE attribute is scoring. Again, that's ONLY when he's in the zone.

Shane Clark, and Dante Cunningham are the keys to Nova success. If the guards (Scottie in paticular) don't get those two more involved OFFENSIVELY Nova won't even make it to the Big East Tourney. Sad but true. Shane Clark has a astonishing dribble if he touches the ball more, and can take anyone to the paint, or pull up for short range, long range J's. The problem is, he's so worn out from Defense and trying to rebound against the bigger forwards in the Big East that when he finally does get the ball for offense to pick up some rythm he's exhausted.
Dante' should be more of a post up player. Sorta like what Pena is doing. He does need to work on his short range J' but over all this cat gets the job done! Him and Shane should be looking MORE to one another for passing, rebounding, and shooting. The guards should then be helping out for long rebounds, and creating plays.
Redding, another quiet giant that can make some noise IF he's involved early. Nova is now playing the catchup game EVERY GAME because Scottie does NOT share the ball well. I'm furious at J-Wright for letting Scottie continue to do these things, and not making a team effort to get these W's on the board. Scottie is NOT that good of a player or play maker to get it done solo. Nothing like Kyle Lowry, Randy Foye. These guys made PLAYS not only did (Kyle BARELY 6 feet) make plays, but this guy rebounded crazy. Same with Foye. Kyle wasn't a big scorer but he played his role as a "TRUE" guard. Scottie should watch tapes of Kyle and learn. Kyle was excellent for distractions, and getting his TEAM involved.
Bottom line, next year will definitely be a better year. But if they want to see ANY tourney play this year, Scottie will need to share the Ball, and make MORE of a team effort. Shane will need double digits offensively from here on out, Dante will have to continue to pound the glass, and the rest of the team will have to step up DEFENSE.



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